The Houston Astros have been in postseason mode of some time now.
That approach won’t change Saturday night when the visiting Astros continue their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Carlos Correa had four RBIs and set a rookie club record with his 22nd home as Houston (85-75) rolled to a 21-5 victory Friday. It was the highest-scoring game in team history and the Astros’ fifth win in the last six games.
Houston enters play Saturday one game ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and two up on Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the AL, and can still force a one-game playoff with first-place Texas for the West crown.
"To us, the playoffs have already begun and we have to treat each game like a playoff game," manager A.J. Hinch told MLB’s official website.
Correa is batting .357 with four homers and 14 RBIs in the last 10 games. He’s also clubbed four home runs while going 7 for 16 with eight RBIs in four games against Arizona (78-82).
Houston’s Collin McHugh (18-7, 3.98 ERA) has a 5.70 ERA in his last four starts, but he’s 5-0 in his last six. The right-hander has allowed 10 runs, 14 hits and walked five in nine innings of his last two road outings and gave up three of his four runs in the first inning of the 6 2-3 he lasted during last Saturday’s 9-7 home victory over Texas.
However, he yielded one run in seven innings of a 4-1 win over Arizona on Aug. 2.
With a victory, McHugh and 20-game winner Dallas Keuchel would become the first Houston duo since Mike Hampton and Jose Lima in 1999 to win at least 19 in the same season.
Paul Goldschmidt is 0 for 6 with two strikeouts against McHugh, and 3 for 14 while fanning seven times in this season’s four games with Houston.
Jeremy Hellickson (9-11, 4.60) can record a fourth season with double-digit victories if he’s able to avoid losing a fourth straight start. The Diamondbacks, however, have scored one run with him on the mound in the three outings he’s made since missing almost a month with a strained hamstring.
The right-hander gave up one run in six innings of a 3-0 loss at San Diego last Saturday.
"I was happy with what we got out of Jeremy," manager Chip Hale said after that outing. "Mixed his pitches, threw that breaking ball a bunch, that changeup and again stayed off their barrel a lot."
Hellickson was hardly that effective while giving up seven runs and three homers in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-2 loss at Houston on Aug. 1. Highlighted by a grand slam, Hank Conger hit two of his 11 home runs this season off Hellickson in that contest. Correa also took him deep.
Carlos Gomez is 2 for 6 with a double against Hellickson, but it’s uncertain if the center fielder will sit a second straight contest with a nagging rib injury.
"I get to the point (that) I don’t worry about it," Gomez said. "I’m not the one who writes the lineup. I come here ready."